HMS Levant (1758)
HMS Levant was a 28-gun sixth-rate frigate of the Coventry class. She saw service against France in the Seven Years’ War, and against France, Spain and the American colonies during the American Revolutionary War. Launched in 1758, Levant was assigned to the Royal Navy’s Jamaica station from 1759.
About HMS Levant (1758) in brief
HMS Levant was a 28-gun sixth-rate frigate of the Coventry class. She saw service against France in the Seven Years’ War, and against France, Spain and the American colonies during the American Revolutionary War. Launched in 1758, Levant was assigned to the Royal Navy’s Jamaica station from 1759 and proved her worth by defeating nine French vessels during her first three years at sea. She was decommissioned following Britain’s declaration of peace with France in 1763, but returned to service in 1766 for patrol duties in the Caribbean. Decommissioned for a second time in 1770, she was reinstated at the outbreak of the US Revolutionary War and sent to the Mediterranean as part of a small British squadron based at Gibraltar. Over the next three years she captured or sank a total of fourteen enemy craft including an 18-gun American privateer. In 1779 she brought home news of an impending Spanish assault on Gibraltar, ahead of Spain’s declaring of war on Great Britain. The ageing frigate was finally removed from Navy service later that year, and her crew discharged to other vessels. She was broken up at Deptford Dockyard in 1780, having secured atotal of 31 victories over 21 years atSea. She is one of 19 vessels forming part of the Coventry class of frigates. The vessel was loosely modelled on the design and dimensions of HMS Tartar, launched in 1756 and responsible for capturing five French privateers in her first twelve months at sea, including an American privateers.
As with others in her class she was looselyModelled on Tartar. The ship’s wheel was moved from behind the mizzen mast to before it to improve the helmsman’s line of sight, and the tiller was relocated, from an exposed position on the quarterdeck to a safer location belowdecks and near the stern. Finally, in recognition of the vessel’s likely role in chasing small enemy craft, the leading pair of gunports were moved from the sides of the ship to the bow in order to form a battery of chase guns. The Admiralty-designated complement was 200 officers, 40 warrant and petty officers, 38 Marines and 91 naval ratings. The crew was named after the families of the sailors who died at sea and was intended to be reallocated to pay for the widow’s men – 29 servants and other ranks – whose pay was to be reserved for the widows and children of those who died in the war. It was designed to be a match for small French frigates, but with a broader hull and sturdier build at the expense of some speed and manoeuvrability. The contract for Levant’s construction were issued on 20 May 1757 to shipwright Henry Adams of Buckler’s Hard in Hampshire. It stipulated that work should be completed within ten months for the 28- gun vessel measuring approximately 586 tons burthen. Subject to satisfactory completion, Adams would receive a comparatively modest fee of £9. 5s per ton to be paid through periodic imprests drawn against the Navy Board.